Because of election turmoil and an unstable political climate, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert urging U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Zimbabwe at this time.

Victoria Falls lies on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, and many passenger airlines land in Zimbabwe.

The advisory also notes that U.S. government personnel are at times being periodically restricted in their travel, and that U.S. citizens resident in Zimbabwe should carefully review their personal circumstances.

Zimbabwe, which has been ruled by President Robert Mugabe and his party for 30 years, has been intimidating, and in some cases killing, those belonging to the opposition, according to news reports. Mugabe lost a general election in March to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangiri, and the government forced a runoff election on June 27, although Tsvangiri had withdrawn from the race.

The U.S. travel alert says that since the March 29 general election, Zimbabwean security forces, including some military and police, as well as so-called war veterans, have created a climate of intimidation and fear across the country. There have been numerous and widespread attacks on opposition supporters, renewed farm invasions, and arrests and beatings of election officials accused of vote tampering. There is a continued risk of arbitrary detention or arrest.

Americans should be particularly cautious when using still, video or telephone cameras in any urban setting or in the vicinity of any political activity, as this could be construed by Zimbabwean authorities as misrepresenting oneself as an accredited journalist, a crime punishable by arrest, incarceration and/or deportation.

As the situation develops, the State Department is posting information on the Internet at Travelers can also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.